Trains to Val Thorens & French Alps
The easiest way to get to the Alps by rail is to take the direct Eurostar from London to Moutiers - which is the stop for Val Thorens, and the rest of the Three Valleys. A forty-five minute transfer takes you to Val Thorens.
The Eurostar can be booked direct, or as part of a package with a tour operator.
It's also possible to travel by Eurostar then TGV, changing in Paris.
Read about trains to Val Thorens and the French Alps here.
Book the Eurostar
Book a package with travel by train
Inghams is a reliable UK tour operator, which offers holidays to Val Thorens by train. Book Val Thorens by train with Inghams.
Trains to Val Thorens & the French Alps: direct Eurostar ski train
There is a direct Eurostar ski train from London or Ashford to Moutiers, which is quite fast and practical. (The old Snow Train, which was direct from Calais to the Alps, with sleeper carriages and a disco car, stopped running in 2009).
The Eurostar ski train takes seven to eight hours, which is a good deal longer than the journey by air, but the check-in time is less (60 minutes), and you arrive closer to resort than any airport. It's certainly a good option if you live in or near London (or Ashford).
Train travel produces much lower CO2 emissions than flying, so it's a more environmentally friendly way to travel.
Direct Eurostar: outbound route
Eurostar's direct ski trains set off from St Pancras, calling at Ashford, before travelling direct to the French Alps, at around 186mph. They stop at Moutiers, for Val Thorens and the other resorts of the Three Valleys (St Martin de Belleville, Les Menuires, Méribel, Brides les Bains, Courchevel, and La Tania), then continue to Aime-la-Plagne (for La Plagne), and Bourg St Maurice (for Les Arcs, La Rosiere, Tignes and Val d' Isere).
Direct Eurostar: return route
The return trains from Bourg St Maurice don't stop at Aime-la-Plagne, but do call at Moutiers, before heading on to Ashford and London.
Trains to Val Thorens & the French Alps: Timetable and prices
This winter, the trains run from 19th December 2015, until 2nd April 2016 (last outbound train), or 9th April 2016 (last inbound train). In effect, the service begins with the Christmas holidays, and takes in the school Easter holidays).
There are two trains: the night train, which leaves St Pancras on Friday evening, arriving in Moutiers early on Saturday morning; and the day train, which leaves on Saturday morning, and arrives early on Saturday evening.
On the way back, there's a day train leaving on Saturday morning, and a night train that leaves on Saturday evening, and arrives back in London early on Sunday morning. The advantage of the night trains is that you can ski from Saturday to Saturday, so getting two extra days on the slopes.
Train times from London to the French Alps 2015/16
|Station||Night train (Fri night)||Day train (Saturday)|
|Bourg St Maurice||06.16||18.50|
Return train times 2015/16
|Station||Day train (Saturday)||Night train (Saturday) *|
|Bourg St Maurice||09.34||22.12|
Note: these are local times. (France is an hour ahead of the UK). Check in at least 60 minutes before departure. *Does not stop at Ashford on 21st Feb 2016.
Adult prices are from £149 return in Standard Class, and from £229 in Standard Premier (which offers more spacious and comfortable seating, with two light meals & drinks included).
Child prices (4-11 years old) are from £105 Standard Class return, and £161 Standard Premier return.
On the night train, Eurostar do not sell alcohol on board, nor do they allow passengers to bring alcohol with them - they say it will be confiscated during check-in. This is no doubt to avoid rowdy behaviour on the train, although the total ban seems excessive.
On the day train, they allow people to bring four cans of beer or one bottle of wine, but no spirits.
There's no weight limit for luggage, you just have to be able to carry your bags onto the train. An adult can take two bags (each up to 85cm long), one piece of hand luggage, and their skis or snowboard. There are a number of banned items, including ammunition, butane gas, tandems, and dishwashers!
Trains to Val Thorens & the French Alps: Transfer from Moutiers
Trains to Val Thorens & the French Alps: other options
It's also possible to book the Eurostar ski train as part of a package with a tour operator. Holiday companies offering travel on the Eurostar ski train include Inghams, and Crystal/ Thomson. These tour operators include the transfer from Moutiers.
Finally, if you're prepared to change in Paris or Lille, you can travel by train to Moutiers, even if the direct Eurostar ski train is fully booked. Try Voyages SNCF UK: